How do I File a Claim?

Nobody really wants to be put in a situation where they have to cash in their insurance policy (unless they’re committing fraud) because that means something bad has happened to you or someone close to you. However, you paid for insurance, you minimized the financial risks surrounding this event, so you should file a claim.

Filing Claims

To apply for insurance, you’ll need to fill out an insurance application. This application provides the insurance company with information necessary to determine whether or not they should take on the risk to cover you. Once accepted, should anything happen where you would need the insurer to pay for damages, you would have to file a claim.

Before filing a claim with your insurance company, you should ensure that the payout and potential increase in your premium is worthwhile (after a claim, your premium may go up because you are showing you are a riskier person to insure). Always file a claim with your insurance company if someone gets injured, when it’s not clear who was at fault, or when you can’t afford to pay the damages.

If a crime was committed, someone was hurt in an accident, or there is significant damage, you should first call the police. In addition, collect as much information as possible, including pictures, insurance policy numbers, and contact information. Next, you should contact your insurance company within 30 days of the incident. They will ask for the information you gathered, as well as an estimate of the damage costs. You will then need to file a claim online, by phone, or via email. After you file a claim, the insurance company may send an insurance adjuster to investigate the accident. The adjuster will make a recommendation for how much the insurance company should pay.


The best way to make sure an insurance company will pay the full extent of your claim is to have a personal property inventory (PPI), which is basically a list of everything that you own. These can be managed on your own or with help from a financial advisor. Personal property inventories help to track assets, losses, costs, and information over a period of time for analysis. A PPI can be useful for many reasons. For example, it’s useful to have a list of everything you own for tax purposes, but also so that, in case of a house fire or theft, an insurance company knows what valuables you had.

Personal property inventories include a list of all your possessions showing a description of where they are, how much was paid for each item and when, and the item’s current value. The current values of possessions are just estimates, since some items will lose value over time while others may gain value. Almost always, the current value is different than how much was paid for the item originally.

To make an effective PPI, make sure you keep your sales receipts and attach them to your PPI, keep a video inventory or photographs of your possessions, list serial numbers that are on your possessions, and keep the PPI in a safe place away from your home (you wouldn’t want a thief to find out where everything is hidden!).


To file a claim and get your payout when something bad has happened, first make sure, if it’s an accident, that everyone is okay. Call the police or an ambulance if necessary. Once you can start thinking about insurance, figure out if a payout is worth an increase in your premiums. If so, contact your insurance company within 30 days of the incident, you can do this online, by phone, or via email. They will then guide you through everything. And before anything even goes wrong, make sure all your possessions are accounted for and you have a PPI that will help make your case stronger.